Keenum finishes first full game of his collegiate career with two touchdowns
Houston head coach Art Briles did something against the Thundering Herd that he hadn’t done all season: He left one quarterback in for an entire game.
After 11 weeks of sharing duties with sophomore quarterback Blake Joseph, redshirt freshman quarterback Case Keenum took all the snaps for the Cougars in Houston’s 35-28 win over Marshall in Saturday’s Homecoming game.
Keenum, who hadn’t played a full 60 minutes since high school, had just a few words to describe the experience.
"I’m worn out," he said.
Keenum did it all in his first collegiate Homecoming game. He completed 24 of 32 passes for 298 total yards and two touchdowns, including a 62-yarder to junior tight end Mark Hafner to give the Cougars their final points of the night.
Keenum was also Houston’s second-leading rusher, running eight times for 44 yards. He scored on a 1-yard rushing touchdown and got a two-point conversion to give the Cougars a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter – their biggest lead of the game.
"At one point (junior offensive lineman) Mike Bloesch pulled me aside and told me, ‘You have to stop running like that, we don’t know where to go to cover you,’" Keenum said. "I told him, ‘I don’t know either.’"
Despite their concerns, Keenum said that the offensive line was an integral part of the win, giving him "great protection" whether he was throwing or running the ball.
"We came in here and played hard. We ran the ball well when we needed to," Keenum said. "The O-line did a great job. I don’t think I had a sack all night. They’re my protectors."
Prior to kickoff, Keenum said neither he nor Joseph knew who would start the game, which has been the case all season.
"It’s kind of a non-issue. It just depends on what kind of plays we want to call" Keenum said.
Although he completed 14 of 17 passes for 121 yards in the first half and gave the Cougars a 10-7 lead going into halftime, Keenum was not expecting to play all four quarters.
"(I had) no idea. I just wanted to win. Blake (Joseph) was actually supposed to come in there the second half a little bit, but we wound up not really executing that."
Despite the clouds and a light drizzle, Keenum said he enjoyed getting a victory in front of all the students and alumni who braved the weather to go to the game.
"I think the rain kept some people away, but it’s nice to go and compete and win in front of the people that come back and get to see the game, so it was a lot of fun going out there," he said. "I was pretty tired, but I was having fun."